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Maple Grove Voice

Council Reverses Portillo’s Decision; Proposed Plans on Track for Approval in Maple Grove

Apr 18, 2017 04:52AM ● By Wendy Erlien

Portillo's concept drawing for proposed Maple Grove location. (graphic provided by city of Maple Grove)

Following a lengthy discussion and receiving community input at the April 17 meeting, the Maple Grove City Council reversed its decision from April 3  -- and voted in favor of directing the city attorney to draft a resolution approving a PUD Concept Stage Plan Amendment for The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes and the Development Stage Plan for Portillo’s restaurant.

The vote, passing 4 to 1, brings Portillo’s one step closer to opening a new location in Maple Grove at The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes.

The proposal initially presented to the city asked for approval to construct an approximately 9,000 square foot Portillo’s restaurant, according to documents provided to the City Council, in the “northern portion of the existing parking lot just east of the primary entrance into the shopping center where Elm Creek Boulevard intersects the primary entrance” at The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes.

Portillo’s was founded in 1963 and includes menu items such as hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, char-grilled burgers, salads, ribs, and dessert in addition to catering. As of the beginning of 2017, 46 Portillo’s restaurants were operating in California, Indiana, Arizona, Florida and Wisconsin with another location opening soon in Woodbury.

At the April 17 City Council meeting, Portillo’s leadership provided additional information and answered questions from the Council about their restaurant. Maple Grove city staff as well as management from The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes answered additional questions about the project - primarily centering around traffic and parking. Council also heard public comment from eight community members - all in support of the Portillo’s proposal. 

 After expressing concerns earlier in the month about a variety of issues with proposed project, the additional information at the April 17 meeting about traffic flow, additional handicapped parking, and management of the flow of drive thru traffic was enough to sway Councilmembers Karen Jaeger and Judy Hanson to change their vote from April 3 and to now support the project.

Councilmember Kristy Barnett urged the council to consider tabling the matter for more discussion, making a motion to table the proposal - which failed for lack of a second vote. She ended up voting against moving the proposal forward.

“Portillo’s is not suitable for this location...I’m not saying it’s not suitable for Maple Grove. she said, indicating her concern is for traffic and safety. “I’m disappointed we didn’t take additional time to seek better solutions.”

With reversal from the April 3 decision and the voting to have the city attorney draft a resolution approving the PUD Concept Stage Plan Amendment for The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes and the Development Stage Plan for Portillo’s restaurant, the approval process continues to move forward.

It is anticipated the Maple Grove City Council will hear the matter for a vote on the resolution at May 1 regular meeting.

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